Misinformation is floating around about New Focus Achievement Center on Bowman Avenue housing parolees.

That’s not the case, said Danville Care Center owner Bradley Alter. New Focus is a division of Danville Care.

“We do not have a contract with (the Illinois Department of Corrections), nor will we ever,” Alter said. He said the center will not house persons with violent criminal or sex offender histories.

“That’s not what we do at all,” Alter said.

The center, which opened in July, is a separate building from the nursing home. The 70-bed facility is to provide care for those with a serious mental illness. The center is located in the north building that closed in November 2007.

Alter said they closed the building due to Danville Care Center not needing 200 geriatric beds.

“Geriatrics have a lot of living styles available,” Alter said, about Danville Care economizing on fixed costs. The nursing home has stayed pretty stable at around 100 residents, he said.

With the empty building, talks with Crosspoint Human Services Executive Director Thom Pollock and a market study showed the need for a mental illness treatment facility.

“There was a screaming need in the area,” Alter said. “There was no place for people to go.”

Danville Care officials earlier this month had a second meeting with local officials, including Eisenhauer, to discuss the center.

“We’re a good neighbor,” Alter said.

But unfortunately, sometimes there’s a concern and blurring of those with mental illness and felons, he said.

He said there was a need in the east central Illinois area for a facility to provide programming, treatment and housing for those ages 18 and older with a serious mental illness.

Without such facilities in the state, hospitals can be overwhelmed, and persons might not have any place to live. They’re forced to impose on a relative or live in the street, and could be a nuisance to police, he added.

The center provides supervision, psychiatric and skills training/motivation help to stabilize those with mental illness and allow them to live more independently.

“Our goal is not to house (someone) permanently,” Alter said.

The center, with its own staff and security system, receives reimbursement funding through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Alter said the center doesn’t recruit persons, but staff has made phone calls to other communities to spread the word about this new facility.

Some persons have come here from Kankakee, Peoria, St. Louis, Champaign and other cities, he said. Two to three persons have already returned to the facility for additional treatment. In one case, loved ones two hours away moved someone here because it was the closest place to receive assistance. The center is licensed for 82 beds, but has 70 beds currently.

Some are there for days, but others for a year or longer, Alter said. About seven people have been discharged back to their home communities, he added.

The center’s case workers work with the community’s agencies for social service setups. The center also provides transportation back to their community.

“It’s great if it works,” Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said.

Eisenhauer said he’s not worried about the persons while they’re at the facility, but what happens when they successfully complete treatment and stay here in the community.

He asks “will they then use local services already underfunded or extended with requests?”

Local social service agencies already are strapped to help “our own,” Eisenhauer said.

He also says while Danville Care doesn’t have a contract with the IDOC, it has “contact” with it about available beds.

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